And…Scene! The ACAI 2016

A guest post by Justin Anthony

Justin Anthony Cropped Headshot

Justin is an artist based in Vancouver originally from Alberta. His favourite roles in theatre to date are Eugene Morris Jerome in Brighton Beach Memoirs and the title character of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Film and television work includes Star Trek Beyond, Untold Stories of the ER, as well as many stints competing in internationally recognized submissions to Film Racing. Justin’s proudest endeavour is as co-writer, co-producer and actor in the Leo Award nominated sci-fi action concept Soldiers of Earth.

I am going to be specific: what I want is for you to understand what the ACAI was like in 2016; my obstacle is that I must keep your attention through text thus my chosen tactics will be to allure/entice/charm you, so …

Beat.

Hey baby, how you doin’?

It was time for me to go back to my roots and be a student of theatre again when I auditioned for ACAI. I prepared myself for the big scary interview with the big scary audition panel and refused to leave the room without having followed my impulses for my audition monologue … it worked in my favour and I was invited in.

What I found when we started was a room of diverse artists with different origin stories, complementary goals and most importantly creative drives. That’s what you’ll find should you be invited to next year’s party, too. Consider: assembling a small ensemble plucked from a batch of approved applicants after completing an interview/monologue meeting to the satisfaction of the powers-that-be really means everyone chosen is ready, eager, talented and determined. With great hair. ACAI was a great place to push, be pushed and be inspired.

Pause.

But acting is not all about … acting. It’s also about its instruments. The intensive provides the opportunity to examine movement; intentions, tensions, energies – bringing conscious physical choices to demand a character develop from their own circumstances of authenticity. Then there’s voice; vowels, resonance, truth – the weapon overlooked by most of us actors that carries universal veracities to our audiences. Mix in a little improv with some belly dancing and you’ve got yourself a hootenanny! Or at the very least an acting program.

Advice for future participants: the intensive flies by quick so record, mine and absorb everything. Theatre people like metaphors and similies, right? Alright, so, being in the ACAI is like hatching in a nest; you stay in the nest for only a short while, try to fly, fall, get back up, eat worms then try again. But once you catch flight, even if for just a second, that’s the sign your time in the nest is coming to a close. Yet your ability too fly is now a part of you so in order to get to the next destination of bird-dom you must trust it carry you.

Beat.

But what did I learn? Rather, what did I finally let myself have? (Let’s be honest, we are all aware what is in our own way as an artist.) I learned and now have acceptance, acceptance of what I have to offer; elements of myself that have served me that I attempted to squander for, funnily enough, acceptance. I was challenged in a way that disrupted the process I had come to rely on for so long only to discover this acceptance by being challenged again in the eleventh hour before our showcase. If I could verb the experience it would be “stretched.” And I am better for it; our whole class is.

I hope I achieved my objective in this wrap-up, I was specific and had tactics … but this write-up is still going so perhaps I didn’t. You see, the objective has to be either won or lost and whichever happens first signifies the end of the scene and this post isn’t over yet so then that means —

Scene.

IMG_1804

ACAI Class and Instructors of 2016. Back row: Bill Pozzobon, Art Kitching, Dean Paul Gibson, Zack Currie, Andre Anthony, Brian J. Sutton, Scott Bellis, Wendy Gorling. Front row: Jillian Fargey, Arggy Jenati, Justin Anthony, Starlise Waschuk, Melissa Oei, Keara Barnes, Newsha Richards, Elizabeth Kirkland, Colleen Byberg

 

 

Actor’s Intensive Showcase — May 30, 2016

ACTC - Open House -21

Newsha Richards, Melissa Oei, and Starlise Waschuk. Photo by Mark Halliday

Everyone is invited to attend the seventh annual Arts Club Actor’s Intensive Showcase! This FREE evening is an opportunity for the 2016 Arts Club Intensive participants to present the scenes and monologues they have been working on in the program.

The intensive’s format mirrors conservatory programs with acting, voice, and movement classes, but condensed into a 5-week period with more than 70 hours of studio time.

  • Where: Goldcorp Stage at BMO Theatre Centre: 162 West 1st Ave., Vancouver
  • When: May 30, 2016 at 7:30 pm. Reception to follow in the lobby.
  • Admission: Free, but please RSVP by Friday, May 27, 2016. RSVP HERE.

The 2016 Actor’s Intensive participants are: Andre Anthony, Justin Anthony, Keara Barnes, Colleen Byberg, Zack Currie, Arggy Jenati, Elizabeth Kirkland, Art Kitching, Melissa Oei, Newsha Richards, Brian Sutton, and Starlise Waschuk.

The instructors of the intensive are: Dean Paul Gibson, Scott Bellis, Jillian Fargey, Jo Leslie, Wendy Gorling, Alison Matthews, Bill Pozzobon, and Christine Hackman.

Dates for 2016 Actor’s Intensive

ACT - Actor's Intensive Showcase 2015-29

Conor Gomez and Julie Disher, ACAI Showcase 2015. Photo by Mark Halliday.

The Arts Club is pleased to announce the dates for the 7th Annual Actor’s Intensive in 2016. 

Here are the details:

  • Classes commence April 26, 2016 and end with a showcase on May 30, 2016.
  • The basic schedule is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-10:00 pm and Sundays from 2-10 pm. 
  • View the whole schedule here > ACAI 2016 Web Schedule
  • Please make sure you can attend ALL classes before applying. Because there is lots of scene work, your absence means other students don’t get instruction.
  • Most classes are held in the Rehearsal Hall at the Granville Island Stage on Granville Island. The showcase will be held at the GoldCorps Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.
  • Total number of instruction hours is 75.
  • Class size will be limited to 12 students (qualified via application and audition).
  • Scott Bellis will once again be leading the acting training.
  • Other instructors (all of them excellent!) will be updated as they are confirmed. Watch the bios page.
  • The total cost is $700 + $35 GST = $735 If your application is selected you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $350 by February 29, 2016 and the remaining $385 by March 31, 2016.
  • REFUND POLICY: If you have to drop out of the class between March 31 and April 25, if we can fill your spot with another student, your tuition, less the deposit, will be refunded to you. If we cannot fill the spot you will forfeit the entire amount. Failure to make the deposit or pay the remainder of the tuition by the due dates will result in a loss of your spot in the class.
  • To apply: please send a one-page cover letter that clearly states why you think you would be a good candidate for the class AND a 1-page résumé summarizing your performing experience and training. Please include your phone and email contact information. Headshots are recommended but they are not necessary. Send this information to actors[dot]intensive[at]artsclub.com. The deadline to receive your application is January 28, 2016. There are currently more than 75 people waiting to be notified about dates, so our recommendation is to apply early so as to not get lost in the crowd.
  • If your application indicates you might be a good fit for the class, you will be invited to come to an audition on February 15, 2016. At this audition you will be asked to present a monologue from either the classical or contemporary canon. The monologue should be no more than 3 minutes long and should be from a play that has at least 1 professional production to its credit.

Good luck!

ACAI Class of 2015 Recap — Training for the Actor

Sean Harris Oliver

Sean Harris Oliver

This is a guest post by Sean Harris Oliver.

Sean is a Vancouver based actor, playwright and the co-artistic director of Hardline Productions. As a writer Sean has been involved in the creation of numerous new works including: Coercion (rEvolver Festival), Heptademic Redux (Vancouver Fringe), 500 Days to Mars (Studio 58), Cativo (Hardline Productions), and Our Neighbourhood (Hive2: The New Bees). His short film Letters from a Stone Cold Killer was shortlisted for the Canadian Short Screenplay Festival and was subsequently produced by Scopitone Films. As an actor Sean has worked with a host of a great companies including: Firehall Arts Centre, Theatre la Seizieme, Matchmaker Productions, Twenty Something, and Carousel Theatre.

Why would a person go through the Arts Club Actor’s Intensive (ACAI) program? Well… for myself, I had been out of school for five years, and was working professionally in the community. And although I was having a good time rehearsing and performing, I was definitely feeling a sense of pressure each time I started a new job. Let’s call this feeling, “The pressure of getting things right!” (Note the exclamation mark). Every time I stepped on stage to rehearse another show, I was very cognizant that we only had two weeks of rehearsals before opening; and that we needed to block the play, and figure out the story, and hit the acting moments, and make sure the costumes fit, and the props all worked, and the spike tape was down, and I knew my lines, and “Am I in my light?” and “What will the critics think?” and “Oh my God! What am I doing!?” –    BLAAAAHHHH!!!

Don’t get me wrong… I love performing in theatre. I simply felt that I had reached a place in my career where I wanted to… I needed to go back to the rehearsal room without having the pressure of getting things right. I wanted to work without having to worry about the audience, and the critics, and what other people thought of what I was doing. I wanted to get back down in the mud… the dirt and muck of no-pressure rehearsals. I wanted to play around for a while—to make big, dumb acting choices, ones that I knew probably wouldn’t work, but hell, why not? Let’s just try if out for… FUN! Ah! (A novel idea, right?) I needed to get back to basics, so that I could practice.

Ok, but let’s face it… practicing acting by yourself is… uh… challenging. What are you going to do? Work on monologues all day and never show them to anyone?  Musicians, painters, sculptors, writers, heck, they can all lock themselves up in a room all by themselves and work on their art ’til the cows come home. But actors…?  Nuh-huh… Actors require other people in order to hone their skills. Actors need words to speak (provided by a writer), movement teachers to point out unhelpful physical tendencies, voice teachers so we can be heard clearly on stage, and a director to guide us through the scenes in a way that will communicate the story appropriately. Hell, (unless you’re in a one-man show) we need other actors just to get the ball rolling!

Practicing as an actor? Training? Sheesh…  It all seems a bit daunting, doesn’t it? It takes a lot of people to do it. You can’t do it alone. You need a group, an ensemble, a community of people collaborating together, all pushing in the same direction, so that we (us actors) can get down to the nitty-gritty of working on making ourselves better.

But that’s just what the Actor’s Intensive provides! HA! It allows actors the opportunity to better themselves through training. The ACAI is a playground, a jungle gym, a fitness boot camp (if you like), for actors who want to train. Four weeks, 70+ hours, fantastic teachers challenging you with improv, physical theatre, yoga, dance, voice work and of course… acting (scene work and monologues). The intensive program provides all the building blocks that an actor needs to train and to cultivate a passion and appreciation of theatre.

Was the ACAI program hard?  Yes. Was it intense? Yeah! (it’s part of the name of the program, duh).   Did the instructors push me (and sometimes yell at me, and threaten my person all in the hopes of making me a better actor)…?  You bet they did.   Would I do it all over again?    Abso-fuckin’-lutely!

ACT - Actor's Intensive Showcase 2015

ACAI Class of 2015: Back row: J-C Roy, Sean Harris Oliver, Missy Christensen, Gavin LeClaire, Lara Tansey, Emma Greenhalgh, Tiffany Stoecker, Conor Gomez Front Row: Drew Taylor, Annie Arbuckle, Madison McArthur, Dean Paul Gibson, Julie Casselman, Julie Disher

Dates for 2015 Announced

The Arts Club is pleased to announce the dates for the 6th Annual Actor’s Intensive in 2015.

Here are the details:

  • Classes commence April 7, 2015 and end with a showcase on May 11, 2015. Debriefs will be held the evening of May 12, 2015.
  • The basic schedule is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-10:00 pm and Sundays from 2-10 pm. (There is however lots of variation from the norm this year so be sure to check the schedule!)
  • View the whole schedule here > ACAI 2015 Web Schedule
  • Please make sure you can attend ALL classes before applying. Because there is lots of scene work, your absence means other students don’t get instruction.
  • Most classes are held at the rehearsal hall on Granville Island Stage at the Arts Club offices on Granville Island. The showcase will be held at the Revue Stage.
  • Total number of instruction hours is 71.
  • Class size will be limited to 12 students (qualified via application and audition).
  • Scott Bellis will once again be leading the acting training.
  • Other instructors (all of them excellent!) will be updated as they are confirmed. Watch the bios page.
  • The total cost is $628.50 + $31.43 GST = $659.93. If your application is selected you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $314.25 by February 26, 2015 and the remaining $345.68 by March 19, 2015.
  • REFUND POLICY: If you have to drop out of the class between March 20 and April 7, if we can fill your spot with another student, your tuition, less the deposit, will be refunded to you. If we cannot fill the spot you will forfeit the entire amount. Failure to make the deposit or pay the remainder of the tuition by the due dates will result in a loss of your spot in the class.
  • To apply: please send a one-page cover letter that clearly states why you think you would be a good candidate for the class AND a 1-page résumé summarizing your performing experience and training. Please include your phone and email contact information. Headshots are recommended but they are not necessary. Send this information to actors[dot]intensive[at]artsclub.com. The deadline to receive your application is January 25, 2015. There are currently more than 50 people waiting to be notified about dates, so our recommendation is to apply early so as to not get lost in the crowd.
  • If your application indicates you might be a good fit for the class, you will be invited to come to an audition on February 2, 2015. At this audition you will be asked to present a monologue from either the classical or contemporary canon. The monologue should be no more than 3 minutes long and should be from a play that has at least 1 professional production to its credit.

Good luck!

PS: For some strange reason, we sometimes have issues receiving from hotmail accounts. If you apply from a hotmail account and don’t hear back from us, please submit again from a different email address.

ACAI 2014 — Unwrapping and Wrapping Up a Gift

Laura DrummondThis is a guest post by Laura Drummond.
 
A graduate of Studio 58, Laura Drummond is excited to be returning her focus to the theatre once again. A mom of three, she co-founded the arts-infused independent school Urban Academy in 2001, and has passionately championed the arts in education, community creation, leadership and organizational development. Her previous stage work includes shows with Platypus, Green Thumb, Sunshine and Richmond Gateway theatres, as well as writing and performing her one-person show “Peanuts”. Laura has also been in various commercials and film and TV shows such as Fairly Legal, Hiccups, The 4400, Stargate, Due East and Beggars & Choosers.
 

When I first heard about the Arts Club Acting Intensive, it came at a time when I was already looking. Looking for a place to learn, challenge myself, step back into the craft I love and regain the confidence in my skills that I had lost over the years of absence. (Granted, I wasn’t looking too hard in case I actually found something, which of course meant doing it, which of course would be terrifying!)

Truth is, I literally laughed out loud when I read the program’s “Is this you?” section on the website. I think I was the perfect example of the “former actor” they were looking for:

I graduated from Studio 58 way back in the early 90’s, full of excitement, and then spent several years developing myself and working in theatre as a young actor.  Children’s theatre was a huge part of my work at that time and I saw first hand the value of the arts in children’s lives.

In 2001, this experience and now being a mother to three young children myself, led me to co-found an arts-infused independent school for Junior Kindergarten to Grade Twelve (Urban Academy) in New Westminster. This large undertaking only left time and energy for sporadic film and TV work that dwindled as the years progressed. (I even asked my agent at the time not to tell me about theatre auditions because choosing to say no to an opportunity was emotionally harder than simply not knowing about it.)

Having since “grown up”, learned incredible things, assisted my kids to become young adults and supported Urban Academy through to a new leadership team, the call to “step back out there” started to become more like a scream. (A scream of terror, frustration and enthusiasm all wrapped up into one.)

And that is where the gift of the ACAI came in. After working through the initial fear of simply applying and then auditioning, I was given the opportunity I so needed.

This program allowed a slightly rusty, middle aged, woman to jump back into the world of theatre and be welcomed, supported and challenged.

It unwrapped this tightly held package of insecurity and passion and focused it in a place of learning and craftsmanship.

The instructors each brought incredible skill, dedication and joy to the work, which they tirelessly shared and also challenged all of us to bring our best selves to.

Each class, be it scene work, voice work, movement classes, Suzuki, Viewpoints, mime or belly dance, was an opportunity to explore, let go of old habits, and practice with our body instruments in a new way.

The 2014 class membership was one of warm, talented and brave individuals who willingly stepped forward, warts and all, to grow and challenge themselves. They taught me by example each and every day to be braver, give more and have fun no matter what.

In short, the ACAI program brought me back in touch with all that I had so missed in the process and the community that is theatre. The investment in time and money has and will pay for itself over and over again.  I will take this experience, and all that I learned and reignited, proudly with me into the next stage of my career.

Top row (l-r): Frances Kitson, Lawra Linda Bawman, Lara Rose Tansey, Grant Vlahovic. Middle Row (l-r): Laura Drummond, Sharon Crandall, Paula Burrows.  Front row (l-r): Bronwen Smith, Shalyn McFaul, Kelly Sheridan, Scott Bellis, Nyla Carpentier, Olesia Shewchuk

Top row (l-r): Frances Kitson, Lawra Linda Bawman, Lara Rose Tansey, Grant Vlahovic. Middle Row (l-r): Laura Drummond, Sharon Crandall, Paula Burrows. Front row (l-r): Bronwen Smith, Shalyn McFaul, Kelly Sheridan, Scott Bellis, Nyla Carpentier, Olesia Shewchuk

Come to the Showcase–May 11, 2014

It’s Showcase time.

For nearly six weeks they’ve been toiling away working on monologues, scenes, mime, bellydance, voice-work, improv, Viewpoints, Suzuki, Laban, and other stuff that doesn’t even have a name. They’ve awakened muscles, re-wired their brains, tapped into their emotions and broken through resistance. And now they’re going to undertake the bravest of acts–they’re going to get up on that stage and present their work for all the world to see.

So, come on out and support, cheer, and enjoy what the hard-working, playful, and generally fabulous students of the 2014 Actor’s Intensive have been up to.

The particulars:

  • Date: Sunday, May 11, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 Curtain
  • Place: The Revue Stage on Granville Island
  • Cost: Free

There will be a reception following the showcase in the Revue Stage lobby. (So don’t leave right after the show, there will be cake!)

Please RSVP to actors [dot] intensive [AT] artsclub [dot] com and let us know your name and how many people will be attending in your party.

Hope to see you there!